“Mama, I want to talk to Holly,” my daughter said as I snuggled next to her while tucking her in. She’d been having trouble with our move and was still feeling uneasy at bedtime. Holly was her therapist.
The first time my children were in therapy was when they were just old enough to join the preschool group at Kids in the Middle, a counseling service for children of divorce. Through play and talk, they learned how to navigate and express their feelings about the divorce and life in general. I was involved in the therapy, too, and we learned as a family how to navigate our emotions, and we were better for it.
But, as often happens, they got older and we got busier, and therapy was a casualty of the more hectic schedule of school-age children. But being a kid is hard, and being a kid with big emotions is even more challenging. So it was a blessing, then, when we were connected at the school with the traditional counselor and educational support counselor, who both began to meet with my girls. I have been thankful for these women who worked with my kids.
Even when things seem “good,” I like that my kids have someone to meet with, someone who can help equip them with tools they’ll need when things maybe aren’t so good. Holly gave my little one strategies to manage her feelings of frustration that would sometimes overwhelm her; Julie gave both girls mindfulness strategies for when they felt like there was too much buzzing around in their little heads. Both gave me peace of mind.
I am a firm believer that therapy works. Teaching my children to take care of their mental health is one of the greatest lessons I can give them. I want them to know that it is not a sign of weakness to seek help, to talk to someone, or to accept guidance. And since they actively ask to speak to their therapists, I think they, too, see the benefits.